More Election Coverage
SPRINGFIELD — Less than half of Illinois House Black Caucus members say they back the push to legalize same-sex marriage or are likely to support it, a Chicago Sun-Times survey of the pivotal voting bloc has found. Four members of the 20-member caucus have told the Sun-Times they will vote for same-sex marriage while five others indicated they are leaning toward a ‘yes’ vote. Seven remain undecided, and four are opposed.
A schism within the Illinois Republican party came to a head Thursday with key donor Ron Gidwitz telling the Chicago Sun-Times that the conservative faction of the GOP was “destroying” the party’s chances in next year’s statewide elections by bungling an internal feud over a social issue. “The state central committee . . . is destroying any chance that the Republican Party has in 2014,” Gidwitz says.
With Illinois GOP Chairman Pat Brady on his way out the door, the next person to lead the state Republican party will have to glue together the fractured pieces of a bloodied and bruised party that’s allowed social issues to polarize its members. Just how difficult a task that will be depends on whom you ask, though both moderate and conservative Republicans insist they support a “big tent” that includes a diversity of beliefs.
SPRINGFIELD — In a potential breakthrough, a new pension package pushed by House Speaker Michael Madigan surfaced Tuesday that scraps a framework favored by Senate President John Cullerton but still angers labor unions, who derided the plan as “illegal” and vowed a legal challenge if it passes. Madigan’s 277-page revision to a Senate-passed bill originally backed by Cullerton would reel in the size of annual pension boosts retired state workers and teachers get and spare suburban and Downstate school systems from shouldering the state’s share of educators’ pension costs.
Black clergy from Chicago and the south suburbs on Monday began another round of robo-calls narrated by the Rev. James Meeks to condemn same-sex marriage, urging people to compel their state lawmakers to oppose a pending Illinois House bill. The effort though, represents a marriage of another kind. The Chicago-based African American Clergy Coalition joined forces with the National Organization for Marriage, pooling resources as the groups aim to kill same-sex marriage legislation that has already advanced from the Illinois state Senate.
The Republican Party is losing one of its potential front-running candidates for governor. U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock has opted not to seek the governor’s mansion, sources told the Chicago Sun-Times. The young GOP rising star is expected to make a formal announcement Friday.
Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s administration is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to declare Chicago’s new ward map unconstitutional on grounds that it violates the one-man, one-vote principle and uses “grotesque shapes and boundaries” to protect incumbents. The city’s arguments include: that the League of Women Voters lacks legal standing to file; that wards differing in population by less than ten percent do not constitute an equal protection violation” and that re-districting is a “peculiarly legislative function” that has been “traditionally respected” by the courts in the absence of “invidious discrimination” on the basis of race.
As a recent town hall meeting in his district quickly grew heated, state Rep. Jack Franks (D-Marengo) said for the first time in his political career he wished he had brought something with him: security. Franks was talking pension reform, but one man opposed to same-sex marriage became particularly agitated. In the last several weeks, behind-the-scenes pressure as well as public rancor over a same-sex marriage bill still pending in the Illinois House has intensified.
SPRINGFIELD — The fight over how to let gun owners carry their weapons in public turned ugly and personal Wednesday when debate devolved into whether one Illinois House member had the proper temperament to carry a loaded gun. The fight that erupted on the House floor between state Rep. Scott Drury (D-Highwood) and Rep. Mike Bost (R-Murphysboro) came before the House overwhelmingly voted down a concealed-carry plan that had been drafted by gun-control advocates.
Now halfway into his four-year term, Mayor Rahm Emanuel again has been able to attract major campaign contributions from Hollywood stars, thanks to his super-agent brother Ari Emanuel. More than 55 percent of contributions reported by the mayor’s political fund since the start of the year have come from out of state, according to documents filed this week with the Illinois State Board of Elections.
SPRINGFIELD-Four Illinois lieutenant governors during the state’s 195-year history have quit in mid-term, and one, in so doing, declared the job so boring that anyone of “average” intelligence could master its duties in a week. But the office has remained untouched until now, when a new and unexpected debate over its usefulness sprung up in Springfield as the Illinois House voted overwhelmingly to ask voters next year to mothball it.
When U.S. Rep. Robin Kelly (D-Ill) is asked how to pronounce the name of the town she calls home, she answers proudly. “I say Matt-e-son. Three-syllables,” Kelly says, giving the correct historical pronunciation of the Chicago south suburb, whose name is often butchered by outsiders. Though she was born and raised out of state, Kelly, 56, has lived in the south suburb for 20 years, developing a loyal group of friends who go on annual trips together, visit the theater and dine at Kelly’s home on Christmas night. The newest member of Illinois’ congressional delegation has developed a reputation as
First lady Michelle Obama in a Chicago visit Wednesday grew emotional, choking on her words as she explained how she struggled to bring comfort to the friends of Hadiya Pendleton the day they were to bury their friend. “I urged them to dream as big as she did,” Michelle Obama said to a group that gathered to back Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s initiative to raise $50 million and invest the money into youth programs in troubled neighborhoods.
Turnout was mostly poor Tuesday as hundreds of local elected posts were up for grabs in the suburbs. “That’s pitiful,” Will County Clerk Nancy Schultz Voots said. “This is the most important election.” From tax rates and public improvements to basic services such as snow plowing, residents will see the day’s balloting having a direct impact on their lives. Local units of government with slots being filled Tuesday have control over an estimated $1 billion in public money. “There is no reason they should not vote,” Voots said.
With the parents of slain 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton beside her, Democrat Robin Kelly vowed to “take on the NRA,” in Congress after sailing to victory Tuesday night in a congressional district represented for nearly two decades by the disgraced Jesse Jackson Jr.
From Mettawa to Villa Park, from North Chicago to south suburban Dolton, a slew of mayoral races have been brewing throughout the Chicagoland area in preparation for Tuesday’s election.
When a potential statewide candidate asked Lisa Madigan recently what she planned to do with her political future, the Illinois attorney general laughed as she reportedly answered: “Wouldn’t you — and my staff — like to know.” Add just about any other statewide political contender to that list. That’s because there may be no bigger question in Illinois state politics right now. Madigan’s public flirtation with a 2014 gubernatorial bid has a slew of politicians lining up — and waiting — to see if the North Side Democrat is in or out.
SPRINGFIELD — An Illinois lobbyist who once had a portfolio of Fortune 500 clients and helped Carol Moseley Braun become the first black female U.S. senator is now using her well-honed political skills on another Statehouse cause: lowering her water bill. Billie Paige lives in the south suburbs, has a 25,000-gallon swimming pool and has programmed an underground sprinkler system at her home to spray her lawn three days a week during the warm-weather months. When Paige’s water bill nearly quintupled last year after her water company increased rates, she got busy doing what she knows how to do best
Adam Hart hopes the ultimate result of the Supreme Court putting gay marriage under the microscope this week will be that his parents will one day walk him down the aisle. “I’m just tired of being a second-class citizen when it comes to other people enjoying marriage,” said Hart, 40, of Oak Park, as he stood in a crowd Monday at a downtown rally on the eve of a landmark Supreme Court hearing on the issue.
There’s a reason Jesse Jackson Jr. and Sandi Jackson were able to get away with looting the congressman’s campaign fund of $750,000 over seven years. Congress long ago stripped the agency assigned with overseeing its members’ campaign funds of its power, and, according to the watchdog group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, if there’s another congressman doing the same thing, it’s nearly impossible to find out, short of a criminal probe. “They made it so it’s nearly impossible to root this thing out. There are no random audits. There are no checks,” Melanie Sloan, the group’s executive director,
As the rancor over gun legislation in Washington ramps up, Kirk detailed his positions on gun control to the Sun-Times, making his most extensive public comments about the issue since his January return to the Senate.
SPRINGFIELD — Gov. Pat Quinn will propose a “painful” $35.6 billion state spending plan Wednesday for next year that boosts funding for pension costs while cutting spending on schools and higher education, aides said Tuesday. The budget proposal represents a 3-percent increase in spending.
SPRINGFIELD — The former head of a Chicago group that helped promote black nurses pleaded guilty Wednesday to mail fraud and money-laundering as part of a state grant fraud scheme in which she siphoned off $500,000 for her personal use. Margaret Davis, the former program director for the Chicago Chapter of the National Black Nurses Association, agreed to the plea deal with prosecutors in federal court in Springfield and could face a prison term of up to 41 months.
SPRINGFIELD — In a racially charged vote, the Senate served up a dramatic defeat for Gov. Pat Quinn Wednesday in his bid to strip the Southern Illinois University board of appointees aligned with university president Glenn Poshard, the former candidate for governor. Unprecedented in recent memory, the Senate’s unanimous rejection of three Quinn appointees to the SIU board was led by Downstate Democrats who oppose administration efforts to reinstall an anti-Poshard trustee, southern Illinois podiatrist Roger Herrin, as chairman.
Robin Kelly sailed to victory Tuesday in a contentious special Democratic primary election that was called to replace disgraced former U.S. Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. but turned into a referendum on gun violence. With 99 percent of the precincts reportingKelly, 56, had 52 percent of the vote.